For around 1 billion smokers in the world today, the risks of serious disease and early death associated with smoking continue to increase as long as they continue to smoke. People who quit using tobacco and nicotine altogether make the biggest difference for their health, because their risks can be reduced over time after they stop smoking. Quitting smoking is the best choice a person who smokes can make.
But what about people who don’t quit altogether? This is where smoke-free products can play an important role. Products which avoid burning tobacco likely produce far lower levels of the harmful chemicals found in cigarette smoke. And how much impact each product can have on those smoking-related risks can and should be assessed scientifically on a product-by-product basis, so that adult smokers have the information they need to make an informed choice.
Importantly, smoke-free products aren’t risk-free and most contain nicotine, which is addictive. Even if these products contain lower levels of harmful chemicals than found in cigarette smoke, there are still some present or produced. But for adults who continue to use products that contain nicotine or tobacco, making a choice that can reduce the risks that come from smoking is likely much better for their health than making no change at all and remaining at the highest risk level. Now, even if an adult who smokes does make the choice to switch to a better alternative, they need one or more acceptable alternatives to continued smoking to choose from.